Tuesday, April 12, 2011

T&T Under New Ownership

Last week Thomas & Thomas sent out a press release announcing the sale of the company to Mark Richens of Florida but left some questions what the future of this fly rod company might be.

Thomas & Thomas has followed last week's news with another press release that I received this morning that more clearly outlines Mark Richens intentions for T&T, the retention of key employees, and the direction that he plans point his company in the future.

Greenfield, MA – April 11, 2011. Islamorada, FL based fly fisherman Mark Richens today provided further details relating to his recent acquisition of the Thomas & Thomas brand and manufacturing facilities.

Richens has formed a new company and will commence selling bamboo, glass and graphite rods under the Thomas & Thomas brand with immediate effect. Key members of the former Thomas & Thomas Rodmakers Inc. team have accepted positions with the new company having previously been laid off by Thomas & Thomas Rodmakers Inc. in March 2011. Mark Richens will lead the company and will be relocating to Massachusetts after this year’s tarpon season. By way of this press release Richens confirmed that his team is working with dealers to ensure a smooth transition for past, present and future customers.

Richens also confirmed that existing Thomas & Thomas rod warranty obligations will be honored by his company. Anglers returning damaged rods should address packages to Thomas & Thomas at the usual address.

Describing his motives for the acquisition Richens said, “To my mind Thomas & Thomas is one of the last true American rod builders. Fly fishing devotees around the world gravitate toward the brand. I am no different and am privileged to be working with a vastly experienced crew in New England. There are many unsung heroes here who have forgotten more than I’ll ever know about the quest for fly rod perfection.

I am, however, under no illusions and this is not a vanity purchase. There is work to be done to ensure all operational aspects of our business exude the same quality as the finished rods themselves. This means rebuilding relations so that we can work closer with great fly shops; engaging more with the guides and anglers that vigorously put our products to the test on the water; improving our warranty repair turnaround times and getting more involved with initiatives that improve the future outlook for the most important players in our industry – young people and the fish themselves.

These are exciting times for Thomas & Thomas. We have the benefit of forty years of rod making expertise combined with an abundance of enthusiasm. We now own our premises and are well capitalized. We are going to work hard and fish harder with the aim of building rods that appreciably enrich the fly fishing experience for our customers in the USA and around the world. I am confident that quality fly shops and fanatical fishermen will get behind us.

Finally, I would like to thank Lon Deckard and Gerry Metcalfe for their gentlemanly conduct throughout this process. The fly fishing community should know that both have demonstrated a deep affinity for the Thomas & Thomas brand and the people associated with it. I know of nobody that wanted to see T&T disappear and this includes a number of competitors who have called me to say as much. Their calls were gratefully received and spoke volumes to the fellowship of fishermen.”

For further information: Mark Richens +1 305 304 9444

From the outside looking in the news sounds quite positive and I am glad that all information released shows that Thomas & Thomas will continue to offer the Heirloom fiberglass fly rods in their impressive line up of fly rod series. 

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